On Monday afternoon, the Anaheim Ducks may have made a player available that could be an intriguing name for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Mathieu Perreault did not receive a qualifying offer from Anaheim, and could become an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday.
As TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported, the Ducks did make the young forward a contract offer that could keep him in Anaheim. But Perreault, 26, may have become the odd man out after Anaheim acquired centers Ryan Kesler and Nate Thompson in two trades over the weekend.
Could he be an option for the Blackhawks as a short-term addition?
He certainly wouldn’t be the physically imposing player that a Joe Thornton would be. And the former sixth round pick of the Washington Capitals doesn’t bring the acclaim of a Kesler or the offensive resume of a Jason Spezza.
Last season, Perreault scored 18 goals and added 25 assists in 68 games for the Ducks. He was also credited with 73 hits, 15 blocked shots and 19 takeaways while averaging 13:52 per night. The 2013-14 season was the final year of a two-year contract with a $1.05M cap hit for Perreault, who won 52.6 percent of his faceoffs and had nine power play points on the season.
Listed at 5-10 and 175 pounds, Perreault averaged more than two minutes per game on the ice with a man advantage for the 22nd-ranked Anaheim power play. He added three goals and three assists in six playoff games this spring.
Perreault may have enough offensive potential to provide the Blackhawks with a bandaid at center on their second line until Teuvo Teravainen is ready (assuming he isn’t in October). His work in Anaheim suggests he could be a productive member of the Hawks’ bottom six rotation as well, and would give coach Joel Quenneville a veteran he could rely on for special teams minutes as well.
The Hawks continue searching for a second line center, with Kesler heading to Anaheim and Paul Stastny likely too expensive (in dollars and years) for Chicago as they try to get both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane locked-up long-term. With the 2014-15 salary cap coming in at $69M, the Hawks are one of a number of teams looking to shed some weight for breathing room beneath the lower-than-anticipated cap ceiling.